Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 11/16
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
The crumbling infrastructure of the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-U.S. border has prompted the Canadian government to order emergency repairs.
Documents show Transport Canada has had concerns about the structural integrity of the privately owned bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario and Detroit– the busiest border crossing in North America – for some time.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau has called on the bridge company owned by Manuel Moroun of Grosse Pointe, Mich. to do everything possible to speed up repairs.
An engineering firm two years ago inspected the 86-year-old suspension bridge over the Detroit River and recommended the Canadian side be thoroughly rehabilitated or replaced.
“The safety of the Ambassador Bridge is of critical importance,” Garneau said, adding: “Should action not be taken in a timely manner, I will not hesitate to take additional safety measures.”
The 1,850-foot bridge carries about 10,000 trucks and 4,000 automobiles a day between the two countries.
Politicians from both countries turned down Moroun’s proposal to build a second span on the bridge and will instead construct a new nearby structure to be called the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
Enhanced security screening is being proposed for foreigners wanting to enter Canada by Tony Clement who is seeking to become leader of the Conservative party.
The tougher measures would be part of a plan to counter the threat of terrorism, he said.
“If we can give our security personnel the right tools to identify potential threats to our country, then I believe that is exactly what we should be doing,” Clement said.
Kellie Leitch, another Conservative leadership candidate, said earlier that immigrants and refugees should be asked about their views on what she called “anti-Canadian values.”
News in brief:
- Peter Mansbridge, the iconic Canadian Broadcasting Corp. TV news anchor, said he will be retiring from his position with the nightly news show The National. Mansbridge, 68, said he will leave next summer after anchoring special Canada Day coverage on July 1, when the country marks its 150th birthday. His career has covered nearly 50 years, including 28 years as anchor and chief correspondent for the public broadcaster.
- Canada’s job market bounced back last month with the economy creating 26,200 net new jobs compared with a loss of 31,200 in July, Statistics Canada said. The unemployment rate, however, was up 0.1 percent to 7 per cent with more people entering the labor force and looking for work. There was a gain of 52,200 full-time jobs with 71,400 positions lost in July.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar is lower at 76.65 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.304 Canadian, before exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index down at 14,523 points while the TSX Venture index is up at 814 points.
The average price for gas in Canada is down to $1.01 a liter or $3.83 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Sept. 7) 4, 8, 30, 31, 35 and 43; bonus 42. (Sept. 3) 1, 15, 17, 20, 23 and 43; bonus 44. Lotto Max: (Sept. 2) 1, 12, 15, 22, 25, 45 and 48; bonus 16.
- Former Toronto police chief William McCormack has died at the age of 83. He headed the force from 1989 to 1995 after being a homicide detective. Four of his five children became police officers, with his son, Mike, the current president of the Toronto Police Association.
- Hockey’s “Great One,” Wayne Gretzky has given his blessing to Edmonton’s new Rogers Place but says the ice isn't as fast as in the former arena, Rexall Place. Gretzky played for the Edmonton Oilers from 1979 to 1988 when they won four Stanley Cups. He turned up as a surprise guest at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the NHL team’s new downtown digs. The arena has 18,641 seats and cost $614 million to build.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com